Public law, private law, and legal science

This essay explores the historical and conceptual connections between private law and nineteenth century classical legal science from the perspective of German, American, and Jewish law. In each context, legal science flourished when scholars examined the confined doctrines traditional to private law, but fell apart when applied to public, administrative and regulatory law. Moving to the contemporary context, while traditional private law scholarship retains a prominent position in German law and academia, American law has increasingly shifted its focus from the language of substantive private law to a legal regime centered on public and procedural law. The essay concludes by raising skepticism over recent calls to reinvigorate the Euro-American dialogue by focusing on traditional private law and scholarship.
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